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Dubai Sees More Business Activities While Business Confidence Rises in MENA and Dubai Expo 2020 Could Create 277,000 Employment Positions


Middle East : 16 May 2013

Business Activities Growth Reported in Dubai

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development recorded higher levels of business activities recently, reporting a four percent rise in total commercial licenses registered, reaching 4,582.

Compared to last year’s data, the increase in licensed businesses spread across each of Dubai’s business sectors, from tourism and travel to professional and commercial industries.

CEO of Business Registration & Licensing (or BRL) sector at the DED, Mohammad Shael Al Sa’adi stated his department’s intention to join in the effort to ease the issuance of business licenses in the emirate. This move is included in Dubai’s strategic goals and should facilitate economic growth and activities.

Reports put Q1 2013 total commercial activities at 11,461 licenses and place general trade at the top of the list of ten licensed activities with 619 registered, followed by dyes & paints with 301 registered.

Inbound tourism was on top in the tourism sector, with 39 registered businesses, with travel & tourism agencies following, based on DED data.

Deputy CEO of the DED’s BRL sector, Saeed Matar Al Marri stated that business confidence is on the rise in Dubai, as continued infrastructure investments and competiveness levels are emphasized.

Some existing companies have ventured beyond traditional boundaries and a greater number of investors are recognizing ideal conditions for moving forward.

MENA Reports Improved Business Confidence

Business executives in the MENA region are seeing positive conditions, while other areas around the globe experience gloom.

Non-profit network Young Presidents’ Organization (or YPO) released a confidence index this week indicating a slight rise in optimism for MENA executives. Stronger oil prices and continued diversification in the economy of Saudi Arabia and other locations have helped to improve business sentiment.

YPO’s index rose by 1.9, to reach 60.3 points over the opening three months of 2013. Confidence declined during the first quarter of other major markets around the world, leaving MENA to stand alone with rising confidence.

Sentiment among CEOs fell by 4 points in the European Union, reflecting the continued state of uncertainty and the worry caused by Cyprus’ financial crisis. The index dropped in the US as well, falling 1/10 of a point to reach 60.9, indicating an expectation for moderate growth.

Some nations within the MENA region are showing signs of a growing economy. The UAE’s GDP reported 4.2 percent growth last year, while more businesses have announced staff expansion plans and rent and real estate rates have recorded a comeback.

Optimism seen among CEOs in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia has supported the moderate increases recorded in the region. Levels of optimism dropped in Libya and Egypt.

Key MENA markets like the UAE and Saudi Arabia maintain growth, although levels in Saudi are higher than in the UAE. New regulations regarding expatiate employment in the kingdom should impact growth, and development will be carefully monitored, according to TNS Middle East and North Africa CEO Steve Hamilton-Clark.

Egypt experienced elusive business growth and expectations see the nation heading into negative territory over the medium term.

Executives report positive feelings about employment, fixed investment plans and sales. The confidence index covering sales in MENA moved up by 2.6 to reach 67.8 points, while the fixed investment and employment components moved up by 1.8 and 3.5 points.

YPO states that 51 percent of the service firms in the construction and manufacturing sectors have plans to expand staffing in the next year.

Small firms have the highest levels of aggression in terms of hiring, with 57 percent reporting hiring expansion plans. Only 33 percent of larger companies reported these plans and 45 percent of mid-sized companies.

Forty-four percent of CEO’s included in the index reported higher levels of capital spending plans for the coming year. Across the globe, only 40 percent of companies reported the same intentions.

Dubai Expo 2020 Expected to Create More Than 277,000 Jobs

Dubai Expo 2020 could create more than a quarter of a million jobs, according to a recent Oxford Economics report covering economic impact.

According to the report, just over 77,000 jobs will be opened up from this year through 2021. Expectations state that forty percent of those will be found in the travel & tourism sector.

A majority of the total jobs created will come from 2018 to 2021, as the Expo 2020 event nears. Attendance is forecasted at 25 million people and demand should rise in that time. The travel & tourism sector is expected to create 147,000 jobs, with a significant chance of permanence to serve the post-Expo economic expansion.

The report also outlines the positive impact experienced across the wider region. For each Expo employee, approximately sixty additional positions are sustained around other areas of the regional economy.

Minister of State in the UAE, Reem Al Hasemi, commented on the report, stating that the event will create a legacy within the UAE and beyond. The theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” indicates the intention of collaborating and building partnerships with world players to create sustainable development. Dubai Expo 2020 is set to drive significant trade, investment and employment opportunities across the entire region and create a lasting impact on the MENA economy, according to Al Hasemi.

Dubai World Trade Centre CEO Helal Saeed Al Marri stated that tourism remains an important support for the Dubai economy, contributing to Dubai’s diversification, growth and success.

Infrastructure, connectivity and geographic location remain points of strength for Dubai, allowing Dubai Expo 2020 to bring in 25 million attendees in the half-year period from October 2020 to April 2021. A majority of these visitors come from outside of the UAE, approximately 70 percent. This is the first time the event has attracted so many foreign visitors and this added demand is expected to create significant employment opportunities, as well as new incentives and attractions within the UAE’s travel & tourism sector and beyond.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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